Port Townsend, YMCA sued over 2022 pool ban

Confrontation with transgender employee at center of lawsuit

PORT TOWNSEND — Lawyers for a Port Townsend woman have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula YMCA over her 2022 ban from the Mountain View Pool following a confrontation with a transgender employee.

“After witnessing a disturbing incident in the women’s dressing room and raising concerns, I’ve faced a relentless storm of attacks and falsehoods,” Julie Jaman said in a statement. “Despite my four decades of community involvement, I’m left with no choice but to seek justice through the courts.”

Jaman was banned for life from the YMCA in July 2022 after she confronted a transgender employee in the women’s locker room.

The employee, Clementine Adams, was escorting three girls to the restroom as part of her duties with the YMCA’s swim camp program.

Adams was not wearing employee identification at the time.

The ban led to multiple protests, including one where small scuffles broke out between Jaman’s supporters and counter-protesters.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by lawyers with the Virginia-based Center for American Liberty (CAL), was filed in the U.S. District Court of Western Washington and alleges violations of Jaman’s First and 14th Amendment rights.

The suit names the city of Port Townsend and City Manager John Mauro, the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, YMCA CEO Wendy Bart, YMCA employees Rowen DeLuna and Erin Hawkins, and 10 John Does the complaint alleges are city and YMCA employees.

The suit alleges Jaman’s confrontation of Adams is protected under the First Amendment and that Jaman’s ban from the YMCA is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause, among other allegations.

The lawsuit also alleges the city defamed Jaman in statements released about the incident, and that Port Townsend City Council member Libby Urner-Wennstrom and Mayor David Faber made defamatory statements about Jaman on their personal social media pages.

The suit alleges the city is liable for those statements as they were made under the scope of employment for the city.

There are six complaints in all against the city, the YMCA and employees of both organizations, and the lawsuit requests a jury trial for all claims.

The suit seeks to declare Jaman’s ban unlawful, enjoinment of Jaman’s ban and reinstatement of pool privileges, permanent enjoinment of the YMCA’s Code of Conduct at the pool, compensatory, nominal and punitive damages for Jaman, attorney fees and costs for Jaman, and all other relief the court deems proper.

Representatives from the city and the YMCA did not respond to requests for comment Thursday and have declined to comment on the litigation in the past.

Jaman and CAL sent a letter to the city and the YMCA in March asking for an apology, reinstatement of Jaman’s pool access and $350,000 in damages.

CAL attorney Eric Sell said in a previous interview that lawyers representing the YMCA declined to settle and the center never got a response from the city of Port Townsend.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached by email at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

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